This two-week approximation retreat at the Mahabodhi Stupa in Bodhgaya will be led by Venerable Olivier Rossi. The merits will be dedicated for His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche to have long, healthy and stable lives.
It includes following the sadhana prayers of 1,000-arm Chenrezig (Tibetan) / Avalokiteshvara (Sanskrit), the Buddha of Compassion, and the recitation of the mani mantra: OM MANI PADME HUM by each participant 100,000 times. Those who complete the 100,000 recitations will be qualified to do the fire puja at the end of the retreat.
This retreat is a Vajrayana practice from the kriya ("action") class of tantra. It is a powerful practice to develop compassion and bodhichitta – the mind that strives for enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. It is also a quick and effective method to purify negativities and collect merit.
This retreat will be held in a reserved area in the Mahabodhi Stupa grounds in Bodhgaya.
Shakyamuni Buddha manifested enlightenment in Bodhgaya under the bodhi tree some 2,600 years ago. For a Buddhist this is the most sacred place in the world, where thousands of pilgrims from all over and throughout millenia have come to pray and pay their respects. It is said that the merits accumulated at the Mahabodhi Temple are multiplied seven-fold. (You can find out more on our page about Bodhgaya's significance and the Mahabodhi Stupa.)
Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche has said:
This is a special means to develop compassion. Intellectual study alone cannot bring you the realization of compassion and bodhichitta. With the intellectual understanding, you then have to purify your mind and collect extensive merit. On the basis of those preliminary practices, you then receive this special deity's blessings by reciting "OM MANI PADME HUM". It is through this that the realizations of great compassion and bodhichitta then comes.
Reciting "OM MANI PADME HUM" is one of the most powerful means of developing compassion and bodhichitta. Doing specific meditation on the Buddha of Compassion and reciting the mantra are like soil and water, the conditions that together enable a seed to produce a sprout, or like the pieces that are all put together to enable a clock or watch to show time. The mind works in a similar way.
The preliminary practices and the meditation-recitation of Compassion Buddha persuade the Compassion Buddha's holy mind. Purifying negative karmas, or obstacles, and collecting extensive merit enable us to receive the blessings of Compassion Buddha, and through these blessings we then receive realizations. And the benefits of compassion are as limitless as the sky.
to be a Buddhist, having formally taken refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. Those who have not formally taken refuge or who have not participated in a kriya tantra retreat before will need to have an interview with the Spiritual Programme Coordinator and/or the retreat leader.
have taken the Great 1,000-armed Chenrezig Initiation or the jenang, which will require taking the Bodhisattva Vows; if you haven't you should at least have received a complete initiation (wang) from one of the three higher classes of tantra.
be familiar with the Lam Rim (the Graduated Path to Enlightenment as presented in the Gelugpa Tibetan Buddhist tradition) and have attended at least one introductory course in Tibetan Buddhism.
commit to the accumulation of 100,000 recitations of mantra OM MANI PADME HUM on the retreat seat, plus 10% (for any mistakes).
commit to participate in all sessions
have read this information about the retreat, and agreed to follow the discipline of the retreat.
Mala to be used only for Chenrezig mantra (preferably kept out of sight in a small bag) – the best for this practice are crystal, which are available for purchase in Bodhgaya
Vajra and bell (only for those who have received initiation)
Mandala set (if you would like to offer during the sadhana)
Dharma book to read during break times
Many clean clothes, as kriya tantra emphasizes cleanliness; clothing should be comfortable and loose-fitting, and appropriate for a semi-monastic environment (no shorts or sleeveless shirts)
Your own cup (big or medium) and thermos, if possible
If desired, additional nutritious food (such as nuts, dried fruit, energy bars) supplements and vitamins
Pain relievers and medicines.
This retreat will be quite dynamic, as there will be two trips daily to the Mahabodhi Stupa. Breakfast will be taken at the temple. October is still quite a quiet time at the complex, but still some objects of distraction may arise.
By experiencing hardships in our Dharma practice, we are able to purify a great deal of our negative karma accumulated over countless previous lives. We can also build up positive habits and states of mind to counteract the negative ones.
The Buddha advised the "middle way" – not too soft, not too tough. During retreats we do experience discomfort, but it is bearable and not too tough. By experiencing this discomfort, we have a better understanding of the suffering experienced by others, and thus develop greater compassion for sentient beings, and greater renunciation of samsara.
|Sat 13 Oct|
|4.00pm||Welcome by Spiritual Programme Coordinator (SPC)|
|7.00pm||Introduction to the retreat by Venerable Olivier|
|Sun 14 – Sat 27 Oct|
|6.30-8.00am||First session at Mahabodhi with Venerable Olivier|
|8.00am||Breakfast at Mahabodhi & break|
|10.00-11.30am||Second session at Mahabodhi with Venerable Olivier|
|12.00pm||Lunch at Root Institute|
|2.30-4.oopm||Third session at Mahabodhi with Venerable Olivier|
|5.00-6.30pm||Fourth session at Mahabodhi with Venerable Olivier|
|Sun 28 Oct|
|6.00am||Fire Puja at Root Institute|
|11.00am||Tour of Root Institute|
This schedule is subject to change. A finalised schedule will be provided on arrival.
Students are most welcome to apply for individual or groups retreats here. To make the most of this special time, we would like to suggest the following:
It is good to settle all outside communication before you begin your retreat. Telling friends and family that you will be out of contact for the duration will significantly help to reduce distractions. Likewise, settling your travel arrangements, etc. before you come to Root Institute is highly advisable.
To maintain a healthy, calm, clear mind, observing silence will also bring you the mental space most conducive to retreat.
Practicing Dharma is a source of happiness, so rejoice in your efforts!
Thank you for thinking of Root Institute as your place for retreat. We will do our best to support you!
Root Institute is a delightful, semi-monastic meditation centre.
To maintain a conducive, spiritually harmonious atmosphere for inner reflection and meditation, we kindly ask all our students, guests and visitors to observe the following guidelines:
Respect all life: do not intentionally kill any living being, even small insects.
Respect others' property: do not steal or take anything not freely given.
Be honest and straightforward: do not lie or intentionally deceive others.
Be celibate: no sexual activity; this also includes no romantic holding hands, hugging, massages and other physical displays of affection.
Be alert and mindful*: avoid intoxicants such as alcohol, drugs and cigarettes; we encourage you to stop smoking while here, but if this is impossible, you can smoke outside the gates.
Be considerate of others' silence: keep silence in the appropriate areas and at all times during residential courses, especially in the meditation hall (gompa) and dormitories; no singing or playing music and, in general, maintain a quiet demeanour while on the property.
Be considerate of the monks and nuns: dress respectfully; please no shorts above the knee, tank-top shirts, or tight and revealing clothing.
Couples: can stay in the same room for two weeks or less under the celibacy policy.
Please be aware:
* The Bihar state government has passed laws totally prohibiting the sale and consumption of alcohol in the state, with very severe penalties! Please ensure that you do not carry any alcohol with you in Bihar.
Also, please note that those in service or teaching in FPMT centers and projects do not engage in the practice of Shugden.